Rose and Time Developer Pulls Game From Ouya Over Free the Games Fund Controversy

September 11, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Ouya founder and CEO Julie Uhrman attempted to address the controversy surrounding its 'Free The Games' funding program in a blog post last night, but her statement has further exacerbated the situation and caused at least one developer to pull her game from the platform. Developers have criticized that platform holder for failing to address concerns related to its funding program. Uhrman's statement did little to quell that criticism, as developers took to the blog post to loudly complain about the tin-eared response.

The $1 million Free the Games Fund from Ouya matches contributions to successful Kickstarter-funded games built for the console that agree to be Ouya exclusive for at least six months and manage to raise at least $50,000. The first two titles to receive matching funds from the program were Grid Iron Thunder, an NFL licensed football game which was seeking $75,000 and ended up with $171,009; and Elementary, My Dear Holmes!, which asked for $50,000.

Both games had "funding irregularities," towards the end of the campaigns (large influxes of contributions), leading some to claim that some kind of scam was being perpetrated. Both games were scrutinized for alleged suspicious backing and Elementary, My Dear Holmes! saw its Kickstarter suspended after claims it was a "scam." The developers behind games have denied any wrongdoing.

In her blog post, Uhrman tried to address the issue surrounding the program:

"Recently, the intention behind our Free the Games Fund — to provide additional funding to crowd-funded games bound for OUYA, and enable developers to make more of them — seems to have been lost.

This response surprised us — we thought this was going to be great — how could it not be? We launched the Free the Games Fund to find great games from the very platform that gave us life. We wanted to make magic happen and help developers bring their games to OUYA. We wanted to include gamers in the process of discovering great games. We aren’t like everyone else. We don’t decide what games you *should* play. We want to *open* game development."

Uhrman goes on to say that the fund is for developers and that if everyone can put aside their "doubt and embrace the spirit of this fund as it is meant, and of OUYA as it is meant, we might just be surprised by what a little positivity can produce."

While Uhrman's message was certainly positive and non-confrontational, critics say that it did little or nothing to address the issues with the program - including addressing allegations that some funny business went on with the first two games accepted into the program.

Developers took to the blog to give Uhrman a piece of their mind, and one developer - Sophie Houlden - announced that she has decided to pull her time traveling stealth game, Rose and Time, from the Ouya marketplace after reading Uhrman's blog post.

"They have made it clear they care more about saving face (in who's eyes I have no idea) than working to address the concerns of the developers and gamers they need the most."

"The reason is not because of any flaw of the console (I love it), or the game (the Ouya version may even be the best), or sales (I average one sale per day, way more than elsewhere)," she wrote on her blog. "The reason is because I am no longer comfortable supporting the Ouya company."

Source: Gamasutra

 


Comments

Re: Rose and Time Developer Pulls Game From Ouya Over Free ...

What scam do they think was perpetrated?  By whom?  And in what way is it Ouya's fault/responsibility?  (And these are not rhetorical questions, btw.  The article says basically nothing about the controversy except that it exists).  Seems a bit petty to throw a tantrum and ragequit because you don't like the manner in which somebody is giving away money to you and people like you.  I don't know what the controversy about these two games is supposed to be, but I can't imagine it being something that makes this reaction not seem overblown.

Re: Rose and Time Developer Pulls Game From Ouya Over Free ...

This article I wrote pretty much outlines what the supposed scams are:

http://randomtower.com/2013/08/are-the-recent-ouya-kickstarter-successes...

I think the problem many people have with at least Gridiron is that the funds are going toward a game that apparently nobody but the developers want. With fewer than 200 backers, many of which are $1 backers so they could comment, and over $170k raised, they are taking a lot of money for a game that doesn't look all that interesting. 

While many people are calling for blood, most people are just wanting Ouya to address the actual concerns that the Free the Games Fund has major flaws that are open to being gamed in that way. I think that is a valid concern that needs to be addressed. 

The goal of the Free The Games Fund was to bring in a dozen or so high quality exclusive games, but if Gridiron becomes the norm, they will get a handful of spectacularly crappy games and lose $1 million. Not something that any Ouya fan wants to see.

Even if Ouya goes through with funding Gridiron, I would hope that they will look at what it produces and determines that the rest of the funds need to be vetted better and make changes for the better.

Re: Rose and Time Developer Pulls Game From Ouya Over Free ...

OK, that makes a bit more sense.  I'm still confused as to why a developer would pull out of the program in protest (if you're that concerned with the legitimacy of the fund's use, then aren't you exactly the kind of developer that should be getting the funds?), but whatevs.  At least now I know what the brouhaha is supposed to be about.

 
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